A photo of Jennifer Johnson, executive director at Canopy Child Advocacy Center, urging Cleveland City Council to recognize April as Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month during public comment at the April 24 council meeting.
Jennifer Johnson, executive director at Canopy Child Advocacy Center, urges council to recognize April as Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month. Credit: Cleveland City Council YouTube

Covered by Documenter Tucker Handley

What happened: Public commenters discussed several topics, including funding for Cleveland schools, a pending ban on flavored tobacco products, and preventing child abuse. Jennifer Johnson, executive director at Canopy Child Advocacy Center, urged council to pass a resolution recognizing April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. Cleveland City Council was set to vote on it at its May 1 meeting. “A lot of times people talk about intervention or prevention but not both,” she said.

Repairing West Side Market: Council introduced legislation that would fund West Side Market building repairs with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money and other potential grants. The legislation does not include a maximum cost. It says the city’s Board of Control would set what can be spent. Council members are split about using ARPA funds for the market. Council Members Kevin Conwell and Richard Starr have argued they should use the money to address food insecurity on the East Side. Former Council Member Eugene Miller orchestrated a robocall encouraging residents to oppose the plan. The city owns the market. Mayor Justin Bibb supports spending at least $15 million on the repairs. 

Waiting decades: Don Whitaker, owner of D.W. Whitaker Meats at the market, took the public comment mic and described why repairs are necessary. “The market needs so many basic repairs that have not been addressed for decades,” he said. “This weekend alone, we had [an] ongoing leaking roof, which rains in our stairwells down to our coolers. Another employee got stuck in our only working elevator, with three unusable elevators for years.” The needed repairs and other “revenue-generating ideas” may cost $32 million to $40 million, Whitaker said.

And also: Council approved $10,000 of casino revenue funds for a community garden in Old Brooklyn.

Cleveland Documenters pays and trains people to cover public meetings where government officials discuss important issues and decide how to spend taxpayer money.

Assignment Editor (he/him)
Doug, a Cleveland Documenter since 2020, has been a copy editor and reporter. His work includes: The Pace of Passage about how quickly Cleveland City Council passes legislation; a look at the challenges of the city’s Exterior Home Paint program; and University Circle Police Department’s complaint-review process. Doug has also written explainers and guides and launched #CLEDocsAnswers, which answers questions Documenters have about local government.